Things were a touch cozier for flight enthusiasts in Neenah on Saturday when compared to the world-class aviation event that recently concluded in Oshkosh.
But for those who can’t wait to climb into the skies, the spirit was quite the same.
Neenah’s Brennand Airport held its annual fly-in, drawing pilots, enthusiasts and the curious for a day of camaraderie, food and music. The fly-in was organized by EAA Chapter 41 and per their mission, the event was just as much about those who don’t know their way around the cockpit … yet.
The airport can be an intimidating place for those who have an interest in flying, though don’t quite know how to get started, said Greg Burneske, chapter president.
“This is a break-in place,” he said. “This is a place where we’ll show you around, show you a plane; take you through a hangar.”
The fly-in offered a place for kids to get up close with aircraft and get into the air.
There was an hour-long aerobatics show — of the remote controlled variety. Funds raised during the fly-in will support the chapter’s educational programming and the Civil Air Patrol, which provided volunteers for the celebration.
The privately-owned, public use airport is steeped in aviation history.
The airport was founded in 1967 by Bill Brennand, a prolific air racer who won the Goodyear Trophy at the 1947 Cleveland Air Races. The plane he guided to victory, Steve Wittman’s “Buster,” is now part of the collection of the National Air and Space Museum.
Members of the EAA chapter works hard to share their passion with others through the Young Eagles program, which provides youth with free airplane rides. They’re building an airplane at the hangar and involving students in the process.
“We’re one of the smaller chapters in the state being in the shadow of headquarters,”Burneske said, “but were pretty active.”